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Coulson Elder Law
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Your Trusted Advisor on the Elder Care Journey
Your Trusted Advisor on the Elder Care Journey

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If you’ve watched some of our other videos, or looked around our website, you’ll know that for most people the best way to protect their assets from long-term care costs is to put them into a special kind of trust that we call an Asset Preservation Trust. Think of it as putting things into a safe to protect them.

One of the questions we hear from people when we talk about this type of planning is: “Well, what’s going to happen to the assets that we put into this trust?”

In this Elder Law Minute, Wes Coulson, Southern Illinois Elder Law attorney, continues with the series on Asset Preservation Planning and discusses what happens to the assets that are transferred into an Asset Preservation Trust.
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You may have heard me speak in other videos about the five-year look-back period for Medicaid. Well, if somebody upon a first diagnosis of Alzheimer’s engages in planning to direct his or her life savings from long-term care costs, most frequently that can be done at least five years in advance of nursing home placement. Which means that we can do a tremendously effective job in protecting their life savings.

In this Elder Law Minute, Wes Coulson, Southern Illinois Elder Law attorney, discusses Alzheimer’s and the opportunity the diagnosis presents, relative to the five-year look-back period, for being able to engage in planning that is directed toward protecting your life savings from long-term care costs.
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If you have a family member with Alzheimer’s and you’re considering facility placement, a Memory Care facility is definitely something you want to look into. People with Alzheimer’s are often in good health but need extra attention and help. They also may have a tendency to wander, so people with Alzheimer’s often need more security for their safety. In a Memory Care facility, you will typically see a greater level of staffing as well as a greater level of secured areas.

In this Elder Law Minute, Wes Coulson, Southern Illinois Elder Law attorney, discusses an important topic covered in The Alzheimer’s Guide: Practical Advice for Families, Caregivers and Professionals on the concept of a Memory Care facility and suggests why it may be a good choice for a family member with Alzheimer’s.
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Whether a person knows and can understand the basic things that relate to legal documents is what determines their ability to execute them. The interesting thing is that competency is measured at the time that somebody signs.

Why is this so important?

People diagnosed with Alzheimer’s typically have good days and bad days, or even good times of day and bad times of day. As long as you have the discussion about a legal document and it’s signed while they are having a good day, or good time of day, and they understand the basic things that relate to that document, then they meet the test of competency to sign that document.

In this Elder Law Minute, Wes Coulson, Southern Illinois Elder Law attorney, discusses an important topic covered in The Alzheimer’s Guide: Practical Advice for Families, Caregivers and Professionals and how a person’s competency level is determined relative to their ability to execute legal documents when diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
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The main vehicle we use to help people protect their assets, including investments such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds and CDs, from long-term care costs is called an Asset Preservation Trust. Sometimes, however, when people hear “putting assets into a trust” it leads them to an unfortunate misunderstanding that they will have to cash in all of their investments to put them into the trust or that the lawyer will be managing their assets. This is absolutely not the case.

In this Elder Law Minute, Wes Coulson, Southern Illinois Elder Law attorney, discusses Asset Preservation Trusts and explains how investments are handled when placed into these trusts to protect them from long-term care costs.
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Special needs parents tend to think of themselves as a team asking, “What happens if something happens to us?” But, the focus really should be on what happens if something happens to one of you.

What we typically see is that one spouse works and the other one provides or serves as the primary caregiver for the special needs child. It’s easy to see that if the family bread winner would die or become disabled, how there would be a need for money. But, what people often overlook is that the same thing is true if something happens to the caregiver family member. Their services are just as valuable and just as difficult to replace.

In this Estate Planning Minute, Wes Coulson, Southern Illinois Elder Law attorney, speaks to parents of special needs children and offers his advice on why you should consider the need for insurance.
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After the death of a spouse, or even after a divorce, it’s important to look at and update, if necessary, any beneficiary designations you may have. Too often we see people lulled into a false sense of security by thinking their Will, which may very well cover what happens when each spouse dies first or second, will take care of everything. While this may be true for things that are passed under the Will, this isn’t true for things that have beneficiary designations, such as IRAs and insurance policies.

In this Estate Planning Minute, Wes Coulson, Illinois Elder Law attorney, discusses another Common Estate Planning Mistake and explains the importance of changing your beneficiary designations after the death of a spouse or a divorce.
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One of the questions that we often get when we talk about the details of asset preservation trusts is whether or not putting your assets into one, to protect your life savings from long-term care costs, will require you to pay gift tax on it. When people think about gift taxes, they usually just think about the annual exemption. But, there is also a lifetime exemption called the gift and estate tax exemption.

In this Elder Law Minute, Wes Coulson, Southern Illinois Elder Law attorney, discusses the gift and estate tax exemption and explains why putting assets into an asset preservation trust will not trigger a gift tax liability.
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Last week we discussed when planning should start, which we determined the sooner the better for getting the best results in protecting your life savings from long-term care costs. However, sometimes even the best intentions give way to daily life and the overwhelming feelings that may arise from the very situations the planning is intended for.

Sometimes it feels that things are too hectic to contemplate adding one more to the pile.

But, don’t wait. The time to do the planning is now when everybody can participate in it and there is still time to get it done. Besides, you’ll also feel better knowing the important piece of the puzzle has been taken care of.

In this Elder Law Minute, Wes Coulson, Southern Illinois Elder Law attorney, discusses the importance of not giving in to the “things are too hectic right now” trap and that by persevering through, even if you’re overwhelmed, will lead to a better result for everyone in the end.
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If you are setting up an Asset Preservation Trust to protect your life savings from long-term care costs, you will need to have a trustee. Now, the word “trustee” may conjure up a negative image of a sinister character in some people’s minds, however, that just isn’t the case. Snidely Whiplash is not your modern day trustee.

Trustees are simply trusted people whom you will name to handle the assets and finances in your trust. Often, there are no more trusted people in your life than in your own family.

So, can you name a family member as a trustee?

In this Elder Law Minute, Wes Coulson, Southern Illinois Elder Law attorney, discusses the misconception of trustees and whether or not you can, or should, name a family member as the trustee for your asset preservation trust.
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